So you’re finally ready to take a vacation to the most magical place on earth, and you’re not quite sure where to begin in your planning. You want to make sure you see as much of Disney World as possible, without taking the fun out of your trip or stressing yourself too much. If any of this describes you, read over our list of the very best practices for planning your trip to Mickey’s stomping grounds.
1. Start Planning Early
Because of all there is to enjoy at Disney World, it’s never too early to start planning your Disney World getaway. In fact, Disney opens its booking window for resort hotels 499 days in advance. Disney dining reservations are accepted 60 days in advance.
2. My Disney Experience App
This amazing interactive tool streamlines all your Walt Disney World plans. The app allows you to make and modify Disney dining reservations, as well as Mobile Order food and check-in for dining reservations. It’s free to download and free to use, so download it as soon as you begin to plan your trip. It’s an invaluable planning tool before you’re at the parks and once you get to Disney World, you’ll be able to use the app’s maps, list of wait times for attractions and more.
If you don’t live near the Central Florida area, you’ll need to decide whether you are flying or driving to Disney World. If you’re flying, it’s a good idea to book your flight early on in your planning process, especially if you’re traveling over the summer or during a holiday season. If you’re driving your vehicle to Disney World, take care of any necessary maintenance items and repairs. No one likes vehicle surprises on vacation (or any other time for that matter)!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >
4. Don’t Get Scammed
If you booked your vacation as a package through Disney, your tickets are already included in the price of your vacation. If you are purchasing your tickets separately, beware of scammers. Only buy tickets online from Disney’s website, at the gates once you get to the parks or from a seller that is listed as an authorized Disney ticket seller. Lots of Disney World ticket scams are out there, and if you’re not careful, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars for tickets that are used or fake. Never, ever purchase tickets on eBay or Craigslist because there’s no way to know what you’re getting until you’re at the parks, and if you’ve been scammed, that’s a terrible time to find out!
5. Read Up and Research
If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, it’s a good idea to read about all there is to do, see and experience while you’re there. And even if you’ve been many times, it’s a good idea to re-familiarize yourself with shows, attractions, rides and experiences, as Disney is always growing and evolving to guarantee Guests the best experience possible. Visit the Disney World Official Site for information on everything from resort hotels and restaurants to attractions, rides and more. You can also purchase the current year’s edition of Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World and Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World for Kids. And checkout DisneyFanatic for the latest about all that’s new at the parks.
6. Buy Your Park Bag
If you’re going to Disney World, you need a park bag. This is true whether you’re traveling alone or in a large group. It’s so helpful to have essentials right at your fingertips. A park bag is great for carrying things with you like extra masks, sunscreen, ponchos, pairs of dry socks (in case yours get wet from rain or water rides), lip balm, credit and gift cards, portable chargers, Disney trading pins and more. Backpacks work best because they can be worn instead of being carried.
7. Disney Gift Cards
Visit Disney Gift Cards and load a gift card of your choice with most any amount you’d like and it will be shipped to you in only a few business days. If you live near a Disney Store, you can also buy gift cards there. Target sells Disney gift cards, and if you’re a Target RedCard debit or credit card holder, you will get 5% off each card, which means that for every $100 you purchase in gift cards, you’ll only pay $95. Next, you need to purchase the items you’ll be packing in your park bag—rain ponchos, sunscreen, a reliable portable charger, an extra pair of socks for each member of your family, snacks, gum and other items you want to have on hand and at your disposal as you are exploring the parks.
8. Disney World Bucket List
If you’ve never been to Disney World, talk to your spouse and children about what they hope to experience. What shows do they want to see? Which attractions do they want to experience? Which desserts do they hope to try? Write them down on your Disney World bucket list so you have a tangible list of things that everyone wants to experience. And don’t forget to include yourself in that list too! And if you’ve been to the parks several times, make (or update) your Disney World bucket list so you always have in mind what you want to experience most.
9. Vacation Experience Of A Lifetime
All of your hard work in planning your trip is about to pay off in a big way! The better the planning, the more fun you’ll have! You’re about to embark on one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime—one full of magic and fun! Congratulations!